jueves, 21 de junio de 2012

Republicanpalooza



Team Romney ha organizado para este fin de semana un retiro de tres días con sus grandes donantes en Deer Valley, Utah. Han sido invitados aquellos que hayan ayudado a recuadar más de 250,000 dólares o hayan donado un mínimo de 50,000.

Serán premiados con acceso total al Gobernador Romney durante esos días para hablarle de lo que quieran. También tendrán acceso a otras personalidades republicanas que han sido invitadas al retiro, como James Baker, Condoleeza Rice, Jeb Bush o John McCain; a estrategas republicanos como Karl Rove y Mary Matalin; y a gente de la prensa conservadora, como los editores y fundadores de The Weekly Standard, Bill Kristol y Fred Barnes.

El objetivo del cónclave será trazar los siguientes pasos a dar por la campaña.

Por cierto, estarán cuatro vicepresidenciables: Tim Pawlenty, Paul Ryan, Bobby Jindal y John Thune. ¿Serán los finalistas?

The New York Times nos cuenta cómo mima Romney a sus donantes:

Mitt Romney’s biggest donors and fund-raisers are descending on Utah’s exclusive Deer Valley resort this weekend for what invitees are calling Republicanpalooza: a two-day retreat featuring Karl Rove, Condoleezza Rice, Jeb Bush and John McCain.

But the highlight for the 700 guests, who either contributed $50,000 or raised $250,000 for the campaign, will be unfettered access to Mr. Romney himself, who will deliver a speech and mingle at a cookout beside the ski jumps at Olympic Park.

(...) Mr. Romney has repeatedly invited top-flight donors to his home on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire for intimate gatherings where he serves cookies baked by his wife, Ann. He has spent hours meeting one-on-one with wealthy would-be backers from Cincinnati to Los Angeles who remain on the fence. And he has held seminars on issues that animate supporters, like Israel, education and energy.

(...) Mr. Romney, it turns out, is a thoroughbred fund-raiser. After spending years as a private equity executive talking the wealthy into parting with their money, he has had little trouble persuading contributors, especially entrepreneurs, to invest in his vision of a Romney White House that is pro-business and antitax.

“He has a tremendous aptitude for this,” said Woody Johnson, owner of the New York Jets and one of Mr. Romney’s earliest financial bakers.

(...) Not long ago, Mr. Romney visited the Park Avenue office of Kenneth G. Langone, a co-founder of the Home Depot who had called for Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey to run for president this year. After an hour, Mr. Romney had won over his fellow businessman.

“I didn’t look or talk to him any differently than a guy coming in here pitching me on a start-up company,” Mr. Langone said. “They are exactly the same. I am investing in a person.”

(...) Democrats express grudging admiration for Mr. Romney’s fund-raising prowess. “He has shown a great ability to listen to his donors and show he is engaged with them,” said Robert Zimmerman, a Democratic National Committee member and an Obama fund-raiser. “The fund — raising strategy is about building relationships, not just about raising money.”

Now, as top-tier donors and bundlers like Mr. Langone reach their legal limits, Mr. Romney is pursuing a new breed of donors — midlevel millionaires far from the corners of finance, who run dry cleaning chains and small industrial companies and share the candidate’s small-government ideology.

The campaign recently held a conference call for 30 car dealership owners in which Mr. Romney’s fund-raising chief emphasized the importance of family-owned businesses. The dealers have since become a reliable source of donations.

Sprawling campaigns have long struggled to keep up with the demands of their donors, many of whom feel entitled to instant responses to questions and requests for access.

The Romney campaign, by contrast, has flooded them with communications. There are daily and weekly conference calls, many featuring senior campaign members who offer updates on strategy and policy, and a software system that encourages friendly competition by allowing donors to monitor giving from friends whom they recruited. Several supporters recalled receiving all-hours phone calls and e-mails from Spencer Zwick, Mr. Romney’s fund-raising chief, who has a 24-hour rule: all messages are returned within a day.

“I keep hearing from people who are shocked at the follow up and follow through,” said Jack Oliver, who oversaw fund-raising for George W. Bush’s presidential campaigns and is close to the Romney campaign.

It is the attention from Mr. Romney, however, that has left the deepest impression on donors, who said they felt like extended members of the family, much in the way Mr. Bush embraced contributors. Mr. Bush became famed for immersing donors in his Texas life during retreats in Austin and following up with handwritten thank yous.

“This is the Bush operation on steroids," said Anthony Scaramucci, a New York financier who has raised more than $1 million for Mr. Romney.

Mr. Scaramucci said he relished his time at Mr. Romney’s house in New Hampshire, where the candidate gave a slide show about campaign strategy and spoke with guests on a deck overlooking the lake. “People love being able to say they went to Romney’s house,” Mr. Scaramucci said. “It’s an attractive magnetron for the campaign.”

The campaign has organized much of its outreach around issues that energize contributors, like Israel. In May, it held a daylong series of policy discussions with donors at Mr. Romney’s headquarters in Boston, ending with an appearance by the candidate himself.

Philip Rosen, a Romney donor active in Jewish causes, said the presence of the candidate “shows he cares personally, which is something we know, but it’s important to see. For those who did not have a personal relationship with him, it’s essential.”

(...) Ray Washburne, a Romney fund-raiser attending the retreat, said the campaign had proved deft at “making donors feel like they are inside players.”

“We feel very appreciated,” he said.